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Old 22-10-2010, 20:30   #31
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Interesting discussion... I may be completely wrong but my understanding has always been that a bowsprit and extra headsails were there to allow one to drive a heavy displacement hull (or heavily laden ship in the days of sail) faster in modest winds. It's hardly worth saying that any rig needs to be balanced, as much under full sail as in various stages of shortened sail. Most "modern" boats don't have them because they're not heavy. If they're heavy, they usually have a bowsprit and cutter rig (at least, and sometimes 3 headsails on a longer boat). I guess I don't understand the question, "Are bowsprits bad?". They have a purpose and a range of applications. When used within that range they're excellent; outside that range they're functionally useless. And in my view everything on a boat must be functional---pretty and looks don't qualify. Boy, am I narrow-minded or what?
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Old 22-10-2010, 20:52   #32
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Sitting on the bowsprit when sailing is an amazing experience. Bowsprits are great.
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Old 22-10-2010, 22:43   #33
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And in my view everything on a boat must be functional---pretty and looks don't qualify. Boy, am I narrow-minded or what?
I don't know about narrow minded.... my guess is single!!!!
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Old 23-10-2010, 00:56   #34
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Many racers have retractable sprits for downwind sailing with assy kites. But upwind one has to consider the shape of the jib etc. in the old days they were great to offer the ability to keep adding sail to a boat.

On cruising yachts a huge benefit is being able to raise the anchor without whacking the hull.

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Old 24-10-2010, 16:49   #35
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Bowsprits make for great photo ops.
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Old 24-10-2010, 18:08   #36
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I would say most modern boats don't have them because then they can't sell you a bigger (IMHO) longer boat that only carries what a shorter boat with a sprit would. On the big O a sprit gives many more options.
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Old 24-10-2010, 19:27   #37
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The bob stay just loves to saw anchor/mooring lines in two
Anchors as well.

Check out five pages of pictures and explanations.
Ouch !

Mooring Preperations & Precautions Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 18-11-2010, 15:39   #38
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Interesting discussion... I may be completely wrong but my understanding has always been that a bowsprit and extra headsails were there to allow one to drive a heavy displacement hull (or heavily laden ship in the days of sail) faster in modest winds. It's hardly worth saying that any rig needs to be balanced, as much under full sail as in various stages of shortened sail. Most "modern" boats don't have them because they're not heavy. If they're heavy, they usually have a bowsprit and cutter rig (at least, and sometimes 3 headsails on a longer boat). I guess I don't understand the question, "Are bowsprits bad?". They have a purpose and a range of applications. When used within that range they're excellent; outside that range they're functionally useless. And in my view everything on a boat must be functional---pretty and looks don't qualify. Boy, am I narrow-minded or what?

The above is spot on. Heavy boats need more power without adding displacement. Bowsprits are the standard answer when the designer runs out of the stability needed for a bigger stick.

Modern lightlight boats don't need the additional power.

Bowsprits are great when you need the power, and not so great when you don't because of the anchoring complications. (OTOH, I dinged my bow when I didn't have the bowsprit, but now I never do no matter how sloppy seas are when we pull up the hook.)

Also, bowsprits are a neat way of reducing sheeting angles without moving the sheets inboard. That allows for wider shroud angles thereby strengthing the rig without giving up windward performance from too-wide sheeting angles. I think this is generally underappreciated.
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Old 18-11-2010, 15:46   #39
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They weren't nicknamed widowmakers for nothing.
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Old 18-11-2010, 15:51   #40
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I thought staysail booms were widowmakers, no?
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Old 18-11-2010, 15:53   #41
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They weren't nicknamed widowmakers for nothing.
That was pre-furling, no? Bowsprits and furling gear were made for each other.
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Old 15-12-2016, 21:50   #42
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Re: What's So Bad About the Bowsprit ?

I'm new to all of this. It seems to me that a sprit would be beneficial to a vessel that tends to have a lot of weather helm, or if you just want more sail area. It seems like it would a disadvantage though if you already tend to have lee helm. Is that about right?
Another disadvantage might be that you are charged by the length of you boat when tied up at the marina. I'm not sure if a bowsprit is counted in that measurement or not. If so, is a retractable bowsprit the best of both worlds then?
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Old 15-12-2016, 22:07   #43
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Re: What's So Bad About the Bowsprit ?

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... I'm not sure if a bowsprit is counted in that measurement or not. If so, is a retractable bowsprit the best of both worlds then?
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Old 15-12-2016, 22:37   #44
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Re: What's So Bad About the Bowsprit ?

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Sorry. As I said, I'm new to all of this. From what I can tell, bowsprits "May not" be counted in the measurement of LOA. That being said, this doesn't make much sense to me, and I have read about marinas which physically came and measured your boat, sprit and all, before assigning a slip.
Please forgive my ignorance
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Old 15-12-2016, 22:56   #45
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Re: What's So Bad About the Bowsprit ?

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Sorry. As I said, I'm new to all of this. From what I can tell, bowsprits "May not" be counted in the measurement of LOA. That being said, this doesn't make much sense to me, and I have read about marinas which physically came and measured your boat, sprit and all, before assigning a slip.
Please forgive my ignorance
There's no need to be forgiven. ... yes, most marinas will want to know your overall length, including the sprit and any outboard rudder, and not just length over deck. .. Racing handicap rules are very complicated and are a very different issue. No doubt sprits are/were a common way to "game" the racing measurement rules.
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